Stockton, Calif. – The Pacific women's water polo team ended its regular season on a high note Saturday, April 21, sending its three seniors out in style with a 7-4 win over visiting Santa Clara at the Chris Kjeldsen Aquatics Complex.
Freshman Brydie Pye was the lone Tiger to notch multiple goals as she finished the day with a pair of scores.
Sophomore goalkeeper Michele Relton blocked eight shots in four quarters of work. She now sits second all-time in Pacific history with 601 career saves.
Santa Clara (8-25) opened the scoring with an advantage goal at the 6:13 mark. Pye answered for Pacific (11-16) less than a minute later, putting away a power-play goal to tie the match. Sophomore Malena Prlain gave the Tigers their first lead at the 3:03 mark as Pacific took a 2-1 edge into the second quarter.
Neither team was able to generate much offense early in the second frame. Sophomore Elise Martin extended the Tigers' lead to two, 3-1, at the 3:17 mark before Pye finished again with 26 seconds left to give Pacific a 4-1 halftime advantage.
The Broncos' struggles ended early in the third period as Claire Eadington found the back of the cage, snapping a near-16 minute scoring drought. After the Tigers were whistled for an ejection, SCU pulled to within one, 4-3, with 5:26 left in the quarter. Neither team would score for the next five minutes before sophomore Rebecca Wright broke through for the Tigers with 42 seconds left on the clock.
The visitors came up empty on their next possession, giving Pacific one last shot to score. The Tigers took advantage as freshman Noelle Mann gave Pacific a 6-3 lead with just four seconds on the clock. The period was not over, however, as Eadington fired a skip shot from midpool that Relton was unable to corral, cutting the Tigers' lead to two, 6-4, with one quarter left to play.
The fourth quarter saw both teams lock in defensively as Santa Clara was determined not to get any farther behind while Pacific was working to maintain its lead. With 40 ticks left on the game clock, senior Kim Kay broke away from a defender in the center position, beating the Broncos' keeper to seal the win.
Santa Clara was paced by a pair of goals apiece from Eadington and Bandimere. Stephanie Clements manned the cage for the Broncos, recording 10 saves.
Pacific will spend the next week getting ready for the Big West Tournament, held at UC Davis beginning Friday, April 27. The Tigers will meet UC Santa Barbara in a first-round game that Friday at 5:15 p.m. The tournament website, along with information on tickets and directions, can be found here.
Pacific 7, Santa Clara 4
Santa Clara 1 – 0 – 3 – 0 –– 4
Pacific 2 – 2 – 2 – 1 –– 7
Pacific – Pye 2, Kay, Mann, Martin, Prlain, Wright
Santa Clara – Bandimere 2, Eadington 2
Pacific – Relton 8
Santa Clara – Clements 10